Gurudwara row snowballs as clashes erupt in Kurukshetra

The newly-formed members forcefully try to take control of the gurudwara, where SGPC personnel were present

Chandigarh : Tension escalated in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district on Wednesday as members of newly-formed HSGMC clashed with police after they “forcefully” tried to take control of a gurdwara, where Amritar-based SGPC task force personnel were already present in large numbers.

“As members of HSGMC made a forceful attempt to enter gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi here, police used water canons, tear gas shells and cane charge to disperse the agitated members,” Kurukshetra Superintendent of Police Ashwin Shenvi said.

“Police personnel were targeted by HSGMC members after they were stopped from marching towards the gurdwara… they pelted stones on security personnel and also indulged in scuffle,” he said.

In the melee, at least five cops were injured, he said adding that the situation was brought under control after half-an-hour.

 Meanwhile, Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee vice president Didar Singh Nalwi alleged that police used force on members of the newly-formed body without any provocation. “Several of HSGMC members were injured and some vehicles too were also damaged as HSGMC members were chased away by police,” he said.

He said that the situation became tense when some 400 people owing allegiance to Amritsar-based SGPC reached the gurdwara.

 “When the people from Amritsar-based SGPC were entering into the gurdwara, some persons started pelting stones. Suddenly police used force on HSGMC members who ran for cover,” he said adding that some of HSGMC members were injured in the clash. “We will decide the next course of action after taking stock of situation,” he said.

The situation is tense, but under control, the SP said adding that a heavy police deployment had been made to check law and order around the Sikh shrine.

No sooner they were dispersed, the HSGMC members again congregated on a road leading to gurdwara ‘Chhevin Patshahi’, the main Sikh shrine in Haryana at Kurukshetra, whereas workers owing allegiance to SGPC remained inside the gurdwara. The ad-hoc committee of HSGMC, which has 41 office bearers, wants to take control of about 30 Sikh shrines which are currently being managed by the SGPC task force.

 Meanwhile, Nalwi said that their protest at Kurukshetra will continue in a “peaceful manner” and the Sikhs in Haryana will “not compromise” on the formation of HSGMC.                The SGPC row has been escalating after Haryana formed its separate committee last month, yielding to the long-standing demand of the Haryana Sikhs.      The Congress had promised in its poll manifesto a separate committee for the State’s Sikhs in 2005 but it remained unfulfilled in the first-term of Bhupinder Hooda Government.

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